As lockdown restrictions start to be lifted, people in England are now allowed to welcome guests back into their homes.
Two households can now meet up in any location – indoors or outdoors – but they must stay socially distanced from each other to reduce the risk of passing on coronavirus. This may mean you need to make a few changes to your living space to allow you to catch up with loved ones and still stay safe.
So how can you get your living room ready for social distancing?
If your furniture is usually crammed closely together, this is an ideal time to clear some floorspace so you can move things further apart. Move some of the extra things into a spare room, garage or attic to allow you to keep your distance from your guests.
Divide your seating into two areas and make sure they are at least one metre apart, ideally two metres. If you have two sofas, you might consider moving them further apart and putting your visitors on one while you use the other. If you have a single corner sofa, sitting at opposite ends will allow you to maintain a safe distance while still being able to hold a proper conversation.
Break up the living space and create a natural divide by placing a coffee table in the middle of the seating. This will allow you to enjoy drinks and snacks together but encourage you to stay in your own area. Use different sides of the table for each household and put any nibbles like popcorn, crisps or nuts into separate bowls rather than one large sharing one.
Make it easy for your guests to wash their hands on their way into and out of your home but also have some antibacterial hand gel in easy reach in the living room. Also keep a box of tissues to hand so people can easily catch any coughs or sneezes.
Social distancing means you won’t be able to all squash up on the same sofa any more. This might be the ideal time to invest in some extra seating or flexible options which can be used as chairs when people visit. Footstools and ottomans are a great choice as they can be used to put your feet up or store items on an everyday basis and then brought out as comfortable seating for guests. La-Z-Boy’s Moore and Cooke ottomans even have lids which fold up to turn them into an armchair when needed.
Plan activities you can do together that don’t require physical contact. This could be watching a film together or playing party games like Pictionary or charades where you can stay in separate parts of the room.